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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  June 24, 2012 10:00pm-11:15pm EDT

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social networks that we have and how far back that goes. and that's a really interesting book to be reading at the same time you're reading about the kennedy/johnson interactions. because there's so much perception and emotional intelligence that's needed in the field of politics in reading people and all of this. and this is something that our species has been evolving with for a long, long time now. ..
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>> timothy gay presents were good about world war ii. he fussed a journalist in the frontlines of battle. walter cronkite, andy rooney, aj liebling and how boyle. he speaks with walter cronkite township cronkhite of a former "usa today" reporter and editor, tim went out and didn't bareness can associate editor of the washington post next on booktv. >> good evening and welcome to the national press club. my name is larry aarp is running
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for state news, member of the book and author committee and former president of the national press club. our book tonight is transfer, the war against nazi germany. the author is timothy gay am excited to be doing this but because i just finished and he burnt his my war. before we turn to tonight's book, let me mention some upcoming books at the press club. june 14, this wednesday, comedienne, political satirist and cocreator of "the daily show" will discuss her book, this free or die. june 28, commander curt l'ecole commanding officer of the uss cole at the time of the attack will discuss his book on the front runner, al qaeda is attack. on july 12, john germ on a, vice president of the republic will discuss his book, my first cook
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at the another true stories from the last decades of africa. but [laughter] on july 24, tonya, not with the national court will address the renegades by september 19, jeffrey toobin, legal analyst for cnn and the new york are what discusses the the obama white house and supreme court. if you take to receive an e-mail that upcoming book reps, there is a list outside. so please sign up and we'll keep you in touch on upcoming book reps. all of our book reps here benefit the national press club journalism institute, which is why we recruit outside books. copies can be purchased if you haven't done so already outside in the hallway. joining tim on the panel this evening is chip cronkite, producer, editor and filmmaker in some of reporter walker
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cronkite. he was a teenager in 1973 when his father received the first stage of the word from the national press club and ship, glad to have you back. don't wait so long before coming back again. next to chip is david maraniss, two-time pulitzer prize-winning reporter come associate editor at the "washington post," co-author of two books and author of eight books, including his most recent published book, barack obama this story. next to david is tim went'> wendel, author of nine books including his most recent come the summer of 68 communities in baseball in america changed forever. tonight's author, tim gay's former press secretary for jayp rockefeller and former congressman, now senator tom carper. he spent more than two years researching the book and had
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unparalleled access to papers and families of the five journalists profiled in the book. he's a graduate of georgetown is a senior vice president at great length in a washington public affairs firm. this is his third token is also the author of the rough-and-tumble life of baseball legend and the wild saga of interracial baseball before jackie robinson. we will follow her usual format. speakers will discuss it there for 30 or 40 minutes and then take questions from the audience for 20 minutes and 10 will sign copies of the book in turn the panel over to 10. >> thank you, larry. much appreciated. it's good to see so many out thç audience a nap on the table. can't tell you how much it means to me. as you can tell, it hurts a little awkwardly here. i wish i could tell you i got
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wounded while storming a nasty stronghold, but the truth is -- the truth is i tripped heading towards a poolside bar and in search of a strawberry margarita. it's pathetic and i know somewhere ernest hemingway chest peter. they're sensitive legal matters that i cannot just go up a lot
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of back and forth here in just a bit. we've got a great panel and i just want you to know how honored i have then stewart spent the last three years and how lucky i am to be paid to write something i care about is passionately about as world war ii journalists meant to follow these five great correspondence. this journalistic band of brothers. walter cronkite if you peek him an amazing guy and were fortunate to chip with us tonight. chip is lucky to be here. his old man flew on bombing missions over nazi germany, tracked u-boats, rattletrap, at
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such low altitude. he was the only american correspondent to fly a bomber on d-day. on august 16, 1944, he was sitting on a c. 47 on a runway in britain, set to become one of only two correspondence to witness what it then the incredible, dramatic parachute drop to liberate paris. but alas i can't, eisenhower canceled the mission because the first and third army with dancing across france rapidly. one month later cronkite that to fulfill his wish. he wanted to market went from holland in the glider, kerry and the top command of the 101st, including general and david cole's crew a couple months later become famous from saying, in knots to determine when they demand that.
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so that's just a brief snapshot of cronkite. some are bigger. cronkite's great friend was like cronkite, trained by the eighth army air force to fly in combat missions. like cronkite, homer covered the 303rd bomb group audit up somewhere. and after that he moved to the mediterranean theater. he pointed out to commando raid, insidious commando raids behind enemy lines. but in the south of france. the first is the celebrated incident in the movie pac man. i'm sure you're familiar where george c. scott washes is under thing and says kurds, always courage. it's a very controversial
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moments in world war ii history. the reason pat wanted to commando committee reached move forward that he had reporters ready to go and he didn't want to be embarrassed. that's why there is a great tackle more. bigger later covered a great push up the boot of italy. he was on the beachhead and see how for two minds on then covered the liberation of rome. andy rooney of stars and stripes earned a medal from going on five combat raids over the right. later earned a bronze star he never told anyone about for his courageous coverage of the great siege in normandy after d-day, where he stood shoulder to shoulder with two other guys. i read about jolie playing, all covering the first army and the amazing battle. he was among the first into
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paris. he didn't get his story out because extenuating circumstances, but he was the first correspondent when they captured the bridge, the great breach of the right impact of mandy stayed there for two weeks until the bridge fell. he was among the first american correspondent to visit the death camp and the awesome labor camp, just an amazing world war ii courier for 23, 24-year-old. issued in the name of a new yorker who fled hitler's star troopers when they flip fled across france in 1840, who got to cover the liberation of his beloved paris and the also earlier in the work covered north africa. how a boil of "the associated press," cronkite's great rifle, graywater serious adversaries.
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how boyle wrote more words to the european theater of conflict than any reporter. he was at operation torch for literally his first day, state and european theater all the way through. was the first american newspaper man on the scene when the awful massacre was discovered. and just an amazing, amazing series of guys. i would say that they were journalistic band of brothers. and i'm barely scratching the surface. i'm leaving out hundreds of stirring moment. it takes a village to write a book like this and i'm indebted to the guys in this table who helped me at every turn. tim winkle writes everything dirty stuff is very much immigration not she tradition.
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tim is a great teller of tales. boyle won a pulitzer in 44 for his brilliant coverage of italy and postmodernity. homer pickard, the creep palace who is still think kevin smith has come a great "new york times" editor, later worked for "the new york times." bessie was his great friend and protége told me that whenever homer pickard was introduced as a pulitzer winner, he would say to time -- two-time pulitzer winner, spoofing the pretentiousness of it all, providing people he had won journalism's most prestigious award twice and were honored and one of the very few other people on the history of our journalism is with us tonight. and it used to be -- let me say
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this. it used to be that david's death, his newspaper's staff, very few people can write the byte and breadth of homer pickard, but with the newspapers that he can. the longer forms stuff, not having pieces, books, very few writers can write with the style and did not show the great joe liebling. the most frightening words in america used to be, michael moore is in the lobby. last night now it is maraniss, sir, is interviewing your ex-girlfriend. [laughter] it's not easy being the child of a famous person, especially when your real dad is everybody else's surrogate dad. chip did not know me from adam in the process started three years ago. i called him a few weeks after his dad died, which not have
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been an easy time for him, could not have been more helpful, more gracious, better gentleman. when into the family archives, dug out a bunch of stuff no one has seen before. winter is dad's personal papers, dug up a bunch of stuff. and after his dad's long-lost wartime correspondence was discovered, chip made absolutely sure that i have full access to everything. i am delighted that ships on, walter the fourth, who is working on cbs with help from his former hamilton college professor will be bringing out a book of a definitive wartime letters of walter cronkite out in about a year or so and just could not be more pleased. in fact, i defy anyone to read the letter to walter cronkite wrote to his wife on christmas eve, 1943 and not tear up. chip sister, kathy and i were looking on it at a restaurant in
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boston we both started blubbering. that is okay because chip told me he was a blogger or two. early on, chip and i were exchanging e-mail knows over some of the classic cbs news videos that his dad had been part of. these historical recreation films. this one happened to be a dramatic recreation of the events of december 7, 1941. nathan, could you run a little -- >> located in new york, the regularly scheduled news program, the world today is now on the air. now a few seconds pass 2:30 p.m. >> i looked at this thing and i thought, hey, that's a guy who
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used to be on i dream of jeannie. so i immediately e-mailed chip to that effect. as soon as i hit send, i regretted sending it. he's a cronkite. he's going to think i'm in no closer to read than i just shut my credibility and the program wasn't even on cbs. so i'm sitting there, really upset with myself and two seconds later my computer keeps. it was chip. and it read, the actor's name was kate rourke. i was thrilled to deliver a script to them once in hollywood. we loved a dream that jeannie and the cronkite house, exclamation point exclamation point. simpatico. having bonded over barbara eden, we are friends for life. look, dishes hundreds of tanks
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we can explore here, but i kind of boiled it down to three and especially how does three things affect you to great correspondents come at great friends who in fact state inseparable friends for the rest of their lives, as i mentioned, both credentialed together, 330 bonne group, which they did really only month after month in early 1943. the first thing is how the site correspondence rose to the challenge despite being so wet behind the ears. there is nothing about their backgrounds to suggest that they could cover a global conflict, not to put too fine a point on it, but we are talking about boyle and cronkite and bigger. they were gumshoe journalists. cronkite basically was a fuzzy wet sky when they went to kansas city. oil, specialized in covering street time.
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there is very little a dare to suggest they're ready for this kind of challenge. you they read a quick breath. this is from chapter three. bigger tablet to a. the featured "new york times" editor. harrison salisbury portion of the early war bickered as a journeyman with no foreign language, no foreign experience, no more knowledge of war or foreign affairs than he could glean from the headline accurately described the other as well. just as world war ii brought up the best to general eisenhower radley, it stirs something within cronkite, rooney, and pickard he had not done they had. the second thing i'd like to kick around tonight is the physical and mental courage it took for these guys to cover
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dead and wounded soldiers day after day. there are no shortage of incredibly harrowing and heart rendering moments in the book and the third is the legacy they left to all the best and to postwar journalism. i don't know if you saw barbara mcneil's review of my book in the sunday post, but i was so honored a journalist and mr. magnus statue but attribute it, but he challenged the premise that the book that these guys came back home and created the greatest area of press independence and integrity in american history and we've got a very distinguished panel and a lot of great people in the audience to keep that around. so what pat, a second ago we were laughing about the historical recovery should start that cbs is a partisan if it is an chip stack was such an instrumental part of. instead of me describing it to
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those of you, the younger generation who weren't around, nathan, could rerun the clip here? >> as well as japan followed the attack. nevada, west virginia, california, prepare and perform valiantly as the war were gone. pearl harbor, again the law, heard her hard herrera corrode nappi regina, open out, philippines, midway will family and then the battleship missouri with the surrender of the japanese. equally hard, the road can equally look at the man in the hot sand and the beaches of sandlin pastoring, all of the nine are descendents of men thought mercenary hessian troops
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thought to be not counterparts for freedom. idyllic holidays to eliminate our time and you were there. last night >> that's what they say kerry. here's our first kind of question. what is it that we miss about that guy and world war ii? i'm sorry, what is it really miss about mr. cronkite in this generation of journalists? by the sister of the soul? i'm just going to open it up to you guys. >> i should recuse myself. i should recuse myself because i was there. the question is that to be historical or not, personal and
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i'm an optimist and i think there's so many journalists today that there are plenty like him. that's my counter argument. >> i wish that were true.? >> my first reaction is not the question, but the thought that i was -- i was about 12 years old when no-shows were running and i remember that vividly. but the thought struck me was that was maybe 12 to 14 years after world war ii>ñ. but world war ii seemed agent. i mean, just completely out of the realm of the baby boomers world. and yet, go back 12 or 14 years from now and where are you? here at the beginning of the clinton frustration, which seems
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like yesterday. literally. and such is the distance of that area. you know, everything changing after world war ii, so dramatically that it seems like it was from a different time and place completely in this part of the romance of that comes up the world changed so dramatically. >> to the korean war you think wash people's memories of the heroic -- >> the korean war is the forgotten war. >> was a forgotten immediately? >> i'm sure it was in at the moment. the other thing, as you mentioned, they're probably -- i mean, there may be german site that now, but there's an overwhelming amount of information and misinformation and different forms -- platforms of information. it was so simple then dedicated much more power. >> certainly they were under
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debt lines, you know, meeting deadlines and such, but i think there was more positive than were in this 24/7 and you write for the bloc and the internet and whatever brand name and story and whatever it may be. and what is up about that voice, even today, as it certainly has the authority, but also has been a pause or the book that, but empathy and compassion, too. anything that is something that's very difficult to find these days simply because, you know, the gerbils are running faster on the strip of commits a little more difficult. >> going back to the first thing, but this guy prepares? >> the beauty of that is the sort of completely were emblematic of the gis. these were professional soldiers than they were up for this task.
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and so the fact that the price had to go through the same thing that goes that. >> when i see cronkite, i see hulu. i see someone holding us together. he's been so many personalities. it is all polarizing, the fact that he represent the absolute best in trying to pull things together. i think that is why we have such nostalgia. >> i do wonder about to pull things together these days. the ones that tend to get the bigger ratings, whatever it maybe you're the ones that are most polarizing and therefore simply catering to write a maybe. >> the other thing that strikes me guys, it's history that somewhere around 40% think we five russia in world war ii, to maybe it's time to recycle.
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it would look a little's in black-and-white, but there's got to be something we can do to reach kids. >> i don't think human nature changes, culture changes around it. there are people who had problems with fdr. i mean, sure maccormack, so what would those people be like, you know, if they have the power of technology today and that, how would it be split? >> well, continuing the same thing, nathan, a future that still picture, which is indecipherable, but i'll explain it.
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>> there it is. that's what are my all-time favorite photographs. chip drove that out of one of my all-time favorites. what is that quick >> one out of two. >> which is why it's so blurry to figure out what it is. that is the great walter cronkite and the great walter bigger standing up for the baric symbols were at 300. and if you didn't know better, wouldn't you souris peter graves from stores 17? and that's the good guys. anyhow, i know from a research come in the correspondence that that was taken on february 19, 1943, exactly one week before the assignment to how arrays. these guys have been trained by
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the army air force on combat braves. they're right in the middle of the training of the photograph was taking. they were taken on that days the shin. is it the weather attempted strummed. they brought a couple bites, peddled around and visited across the stabenow points, once, but twice. so i don't know how many pitchers of went down before the photograph was taken. ..
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>> three times at that point. now, think about that for a second. here it is 14 months after pearl harbor, and the only real action to speak of in the european theater are these amazingly brave bomber boys who risk life and limb to take the fight directly to adolf hitler. and yet it's taken all this time to get the manpower, the material, everything required to mount a meaningful bombing campaign against hitler. so that day on february 26th, 1943, the riding 69th as they call themselves, they also call
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themselves the flying typewriters, and after a few beers, the legion of the doomed. [laughter] but the legion of the doomed took off in a series of b-17s and b-24s. there were about 70 planes or so in that day's attack formation. the original objective was a fighter factory in bremmen, but they got over germany that day, and it was all cloud cover. so they ended up attacking hitler's great u-boat pen on the north sea. it was the second time that u.s. bombers had attacked the pen. and, remember, the u.s. attacked during the day. the british believed in nighttime bombing, what they called area bombing. we believed in daylight bombing. we called it strategic bombing, precision bombing. this was very early in the war now. there were no fighter escorts. after 100 miles the british
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spitfires would turn around, return to their bases, and these guys would fly completely exposed over the north sea. absolutely remarkable stuff. so the writing 69th, the whole idea behind the writing 69th is that they were going to go on constant missions. let me give you just a little flavor of what their training was like. and it, also, will give you some sense of just how brilliant a writer he was. we didn't realize until the top boyses in the eighth cleaned the idea, andy rooney recalled, that we'd have to attend gunnery school for a week. we were told we'd better know how to shoot a gun in case we got in trouble. at abovington, the entragedy was instructed on oxygen maintenance, first aid, aircraft identification and ditching out which meant abandoning a plane
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by parachute or dinghy he explained to readers of the herald tribune on february 8th. it was during lieutenant alex hogan's ditching-out lecture that some of us felt like hopping the next train back to london's paddington station. the lieutenant is a pleasant lad from starkville, mississippi, but his discourse was a bit african-american. was a bit grim. what would happen, a reporter asked, if they ditched into the north sea, and an enemy plane swooped down to investigate? in that event, hogan replied, merely tell them you're waiting for the raf and wave 'em on. [laughter] lieutenant hogan wasn't alone. other trainers gave the writing 69th men equally unsettling counsel. one medical officer, biggert wrote, painted an unforgettable picture of what mile happen to our -- might happen to our fingers if we took off our gloves at 30,000 feet. this next line's in honor of my 19-year-old son, and if it
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offends anyone, i apologize in advance. [laughter] since flatulence at a rarefied altitude would be painful and hazardous, he also prescribed avoiding gaseous foods such as beans, chips and red cabbage and to treat beer, biggert wrote, like the plague. we're in england, for god sakes, the reporters protested. what else are we supposed to eat and drink? [laughter] their tutor was a yorkshire native named bernard hall. the raf sergeant was an expert teacher having flown some four dozen combat missions, a fourth of them over germany. but his yorkshire accent was baffling at first, biggert wrote. he kept talking about edam position until some of us began drawing outlines of a spherical dutch cheese with wings. [laughter] later it developed he was
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referring to aircraft approaching from ead on. cronkite remembered the tribute to the hurricane fighter. this ear, the raf man explained, is the -- [inaudible] a mighty nice aircraft. it helped our troops when rommel had them on the run in the desert. it protected the boys getting out of greece, and it was a big help in getting out of norway. the hurricane, as a matter of fact, was essential in all our defeats. [laughter] anyhow, they get back in one piece. of the three planes, the only one hit by either a german fighter or by, or with flak is rooney's b-17 banshee. cronkite survives an s for
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sugar, biggert survives an old soldier, there are about eight, 0s in that old soldier. and they meet up with harris in salisbury and the top public relations officers at the eighth air force, and they get some very bad news. robert perkins' post, who had been an original fraternity member of the writing 69th, reporter from "the new york times," his b-24 had been shot down. they had seen two parachutes come out of the b-24 but, sadly, post was not one of them. and thus ended very abruptly the writing 69th. there had been big plans for them to go on constant bombing missions, but as soon as people realized just how perilous it was, that was all canceled. now, rooney ended up going on four more missions over the third reich, earning his air medal. cronkite went on an incredible
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mission with b-26s, lower altitude, sort of medium bombers in february of 1944, five months before d-day. cronkite went on an attack, and you know what he was attacking? the v-1 rocket launch sites. but he gets home, of course, gets back to england, and he cannot say in his article that it was the v-1 rocket launch sites. he has to use euphemisms about superweapons and that sort of a thing. and chip's dad got into some hot water with his bosses for that mission, and chip's dad produced a two-month-old memo saying, see, you guys told me i could go on this trip. [laughter] so -- >> they weren't legally supposed to have weapons training, were they? >> no, they sure weren't. >> and they wouldn't do that today, i bet. >> no.
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but it's fascinating. chip's dad, conscience-free, hammered away on the plastic nose of his b-17. homer biggert was in the waste gun of his b-17 hammering away. interesting, rooney who as a stars and stripes guy was regular army, chose not to use the machine gun. cronkite said it was impossible to try to keep track of these german fighters. the bombers were going over the north sea at 300 miles an hour. the messer smiths were coming at them at 500 miles an hour. they'd be a tiny speck on the horizon suddenly pass them, and here's cronkite who's never shot one of these things before except for a couple -- you know, trying to hammer away. i want you to think about this. all the friendlies, i mean, all the ore -- other b-17s are in the formation with you.
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biggert was tormented by all that. >> and they all had to write obits of -- how many of them wrote obits across that same day when they got back? >> yeah. well, right. amazing story. chip's dad who had been up for about two days and up writing what became the famous assignment to hell lead the moment that completely transformed his reputation was then, and then went on -- it's interesting. that night, february 27th, the day after the raid as he's composing his story, cbs calls. and a guy named john charles daley, anybody else remember him? man, you've got to be old for this. [laughter] what did he host? anybody remember? >> what's my line. >> there you go. they used to wear black tie on "what's my line" in the '50s. anyway, john charles daley was one of the murrow guys in london
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and interviewed chip's dad that night to get his impressions of the raid. and it was the first time your father ever appeared on cbs. amazing. all right. so just looking at these two guys and looking at this great picture, knowing what they meant to the future of journalism, what's your gut assessment? what do you guys, when you think about biggert and cronkite together at that point in their lives? >> well, as i said earlier, biggert is a figure of my childhood and adolescence. >> with yeah. >> i'm sorry, cronkite. >> yeah. >> almost, you know, the voice of god. [laughter] or a friendly uncle, somewhere in between. [laughter] and complete authority. >> talk into the mic, please. >> and trustworthiness. biggert, because i'm a writer, um, and i really didn't know
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about cronkite's writing, you know, as a kid or even later really, biggert later became one of my heroes and the heroes of most, most journalists who knew of his writing because of its clarity, um, its sensibility and sense of humor and just everything about it seemed absolutely perfect. >> yeah. >> so, i mean, i think of one as the voice of god and the other as the voice i wish i could have as a writer. [laughter] >> you've got it, but that's a different issue. >> yeah. >> jim? >> yeah. i think what strikes me up with these guys, too, is the fact being together in a sense spurred 'em on. i mean, we're talking earlier how green they were and how inexperienced, and i think david made, you know, the correct point that in a lot of ways they mirrored, in a sense, the servicemen and military guys over there.
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but on the other hand, you know, they grew up in a hurry, and they group in a hurry -- grew up in a hurry in large part because of the company they kept. and i think anybody who's been in this business knows you get better when you kind of emulate or somebody kind of pushes you along that maybe you even have the computer or the laptop right next to. because if they're setting the bar kind of high, then you're feeling you've got to set it high, and that's, you know, that's one of the great things about this book that tim's done. it's taken some names that are somewhat common place and then some other names maybe we haven't heard as much about, but you realize the synergy and the kinship between all of them and how they, in a sense, elevated all their games in part because of the company they kept. >> yeah. and biggert was an incredible influence on his generation of journalists beginning with andy rooney who hero worshiped him during the war because biggert always asked despite a debilitating stutter, always
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asked the obvious question that nobody else would ask, why. why are we doing in? okay, explain that again? i'm sorry, explain it one more time, please? and it seems to me that often that's the persistence that's miss anything today's journalism. i think larry is giving me the high sign so, nathan, could we skip ahead to the last couple of things here? thanks to chip we were able to pull out of cbs news a copy of d-day plus 20 which is the classic 1964 cbs news documentary. i see some heads nodding. mr. cronkite did with the great dwight david eisenhower. and if we could, we'd show two quick clips, and, guys, you may want to stand up to see this because it's a wonderful moment. very early on in the shooting, this happened. >> undertaking. you can see from back here, walter, this was where the battle took place, and it was a natural thing to do because you
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knew you could blow out roads if necessary. but there were these bore avenues, and that's what we were trying to get through. and there, of course, is the battle plan they developed. everything went fine. but the first day was really a tough one. look, here comes a little nun with a whole little -- >> well, that's for another parade. how do you do, sister? how do you do? how do, sister. >> they're pretty children. >> i must say that this has been the most interesting thing to take a look at. if the g.i.s of 20 years ago could have seen that, that would have been something, wouldn't it? ♪ >> run it through.
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♪ >> thanks. that's why we liked ike. wonderful moment, sister. how do you do? sister? [laughter] right. i think we're kind of running out of time, so, nathan, if it's okay, could we skip ahead to the final thing? it's really important that we close on this note. my book begins in the most sacred place in the world, the normandy cemetery above omaha beach. and this wonderful documentary concludes in that same sacred place with two great, iconic figures. >> 86th battalion, todd cole, 90th division, arizona. joseph slovac, pennsylvania, 29th division. >> [inaudible] >> woodward of the 23th, harry
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ramsey of the eighth of new jersey. claus, 8 82nd airborne, kentucky. >> oh, yes. >> i think there's some 9,000 boys who lie here. i guess most of the casualties from d-day are here assembled overlooking omaha beach. >> all of those except that were taken home. about 60% of them were taken home. >> oh. and of the unidentified, there are some here, and then the names of the missing, of course, on the monument. >> that includes all the unidentified who are here. >> 1500 missing who never were found. >> that's the missing over there, and the names are all on the wall, in in the other corner of the cemetery. >> this cemetery includes all the d-day casualties, most of those back in through the normandy fighting, i suppose. >> until it broke out. you see, the quarter master put
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these temporary cemeteries, and they were gathered by the monuments as far as down -- [inaudible] the breakout. >> and, of course, this is just one of the cemeteries that stretch from, well, from here around the world really. >> walter, d-day has a very special meaning for me. and i'm not referring merely to the anxieties of the day, the anxieties that were a natch parking lot of -- a natural part of sending in if an invasion where you knew that many hundreds of boys were going to give their lives or be maimed forever. but my mind goes back to often to this fact. on d-day my own son graduated
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from west point. and after his training with his division, he came over with the 71st division, but that was some time after this event. but on the very day he was graduating, these men came here. british and our other allies, american to storm these beaches for one purpose only. not to gain anything for ourselves, not to fulfill any ambitions that america had for conquest, but just to preserve freedom, systems of self-government. in the world. many thousands of men have died for ideals such as these. here again in the 20th century for the second time americans, along with the rest of the
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theater, but americans had to come across the ocean to defend those same values. now, my own son has been very fortunate. he has had a very full life since then. he is a father of four lovely children that are very precious to my wife and me but these young boys, so many of them over whose graves we have been looking at, wondering and contemplating about their sacrifices. they were cut off in their prime. they are, they have families that grieve them, but they never knew the great experiences of going through life like my son can enjoy. i devoutly hope that we will never again have to see such scenes as these. i think and hope, pray that the
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humanity will learn more than we had learned up until that time. but these people gave us a chance, and they bought time for us so that we could do better than we have before. so every time i come back to these beaches or any day when i think about that day 20 years ago, i say once more we must find some way to work to peace and to gain an eternal peace for this world. >> thanks, nathan. well, now you see why i was honored to write this book and that i'm honored all of you want to be part of this discussion. we're happy to answer any questions you might have. yes, sir. >> what do you think the common g.i. said if you asked him at a
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time of combat, um, philosophically why is he over there and what is his cause, i mean, what motivates him and what makes him wish to get home alive? >> yeah. i think there are two things. i think steven ambrose brought it out beautifully in citizen soldiers and all the great books he wrote. it was really about company camaraderie. it was about looking out for your friend. i think great, um, statements about idealism and all the rest did not work when it came to that international combat on the ground, and there was this great desire to get home. yes, sir. >> [inaudible] my dad was in the second world war in the pacific, and he told me once, he said i'm not a brave man, i'm not a military man, i
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just didn't want to make excuses the rest of my life. >> yeah, yeah. what's incredible to me, and i didn't want get a chance to read this, one of my favorite quotes of mr. cronkite is the great admiration he had for fly boys which, i think, later translated into great admiration for restaurants. but at -- astronauts. at one point in '43 and '44, your chances of getting back from those combat missions was no better than one in six or seven. you'd see them at breakfast, they'd fly off, and at least 10%, maybe 20% wouldn't come home, some raids even more catastrophic than that. and let me say that i'm not the only person that rolls their eyes in this room when politicians say, um, you know, they want a government as good as the people of the united states or they, you know, how inspired they are by the people of the united stat. because i think we've all seen people in maybe less than inspiring moments. but walter cronkite and ohio her
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biggert and all the rest, they saw americans at their absolute rest. and i knew bob, so i'm sort of curious. >> yeah. >> his stories were quite extraordinary. >> yeah. >> it has to have been a similar book on reporters like bob who covered the pacific war the way you have on this story? >> no. but there's a guy i know who's thinking about doing that book. [laughter] will you buy it if i do it? [laughter] >> it's a fascinating story in itself. >> yeah, it is. and the pacific war, i think, too often gets overlooked, especially the journalists in the war. they were phenomenal reporters. and, of course, homer was there for the last year. homer won his pulitzer covering the pacific. yeah. and so i so love homer, i'd love
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to do him one more time. yes, sir. >> so tell us a little bit about how this book came about. how, i mean, how did you get into doing it and just tell us a little bit ant the genesis of the book -- about the genesis of the book. >> third row back there are my buddies from georgetown university, fellow history buffs, and when mr. cronkite passed away, i was struck by two things. one is instead of the usual jaded e-mails that we exchange when people of note leave us, it was pure reverence. that was the depth of the respect that mr. cronkite engendered in, i think, so many of us and then i was struck when chip's dad died, so few of the obituaries mentioned world war ii. it was like an afterthought. this sort of baby boomer obsession, everything was through the prism of, you know, all the issues that we associated mr. cronkite with in the '60s and '70s, you know, vietnam and, um, the kennedy
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assassination and watergate and all the rest. those things are important, don't get me wrong. but i think if mr. cronkite were with us, he'd say that world war ii really defined him and, chip, i'll defer to you if you want to -- >> well, all these guys, a few of them went to vietnam too, and they asked why too. again, i don't remember who was asking why in korea. but the general who took over for westmoreland was an associate, a friend of my dad's from the battle of the bulge, creighton abrams -- >> right, yeah. >> -- with whom he left -- he had dinner before he left on his fact-finding trip or
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mood-finding trip in february 1968. >> right after the tet offensive. >> after the tet offensive. he goes to check it out for himself and has dinner with his old buddy, abrams, who apparently is saying the same thing that my dad ends up saying a few days later, that this is all fouled up, and there's no good way out. and there are other people saying it, but because there was so little other internet noise, he was left with the responsibility to -- my dad -- to say it out loud, that this war didn't seem justified anymore. which wasn't radical so much as common senseical.
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>> and an enormous moment that could not be replicated today, you're right. >> right. >> and it was only four years after they were on the beach there, '64, right? >> that's exactly correct, david. and i think many of you know the great story that lbj watched mr. cronkite deliver the commentary that night, turned to his aides and said, well, if i've lost cronkite, i've lost america. just very quickly, chip mentioned that homer biggert was in korea, and he won another pulitzer in korea in partnership with the great marguerite higgins. marguerite was every bit as tough and ornery as homer, and homer was no misogynyst, but marguerite would give homer grief, and homer would return it just as good as he got it. and when word came down -- forgive me if this offends everyone. [laughter] you know what's coming. when word came down that ms. higgins was expecting, homer
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said, really? who's the mother? [laughter] then when the baby came into being, homer inquired if marguerite had eaten it. laugh -- [laughter] and betsy, his great protege, once worked up the courage to say to homer, you know, homer, which of those stories is true? and homer said, yes. [laughter] any other questions? yes, ma'am. >> i was wondering whether chip -- [inaudible] how this affected, how these experiences as a noncombatant, i've always wondered how people live their lives after going through the things. my uncle was john her scherr -- >> oh, he was. >> both japan and europe. he never talked about it. i never asked questions, and now i wish i had. >> yeah. >> but he was another of these gentlemen who got through this even at the same age. >> yeah. brilliant, just brilliant. and he was in europe as well as the pacific. yeah.
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>> but everybody has their own war presumably. i've never been a combatant either. i guess it's common not to bring the blood and guts stories home to instead bring the funnier stories home to the dinner table. >> yeah. >> so i don't know. >> yes, sir. ..
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maybe thinking this award should should have been the last war and we look at vietnam and korea, we just -- those words can measure a. >> well, no more measures up to world war ii. it was unquestionably right against wrong. it was also a lot shorter from our point of view, much more in 10, but it was over quicker. people got home quicker. this war today that we are in, but 10 euros has a much different impact on all of us
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because it only impacts a very small number of us. and those so greatly. out of balance. and so folks are told to go over there and say, where tickets come back they're told to go right back. it's not the question, but it's another question. >> well, that just a question about if it goes back to it i'd mention a couple meant the scope of mcgough suggesting i had exaggerated his view that these guys a comeback from the the war and created something had never been before. the nature is an honorable profession. there is absolutely an essential part of american democracy, which in many ways up and before and they created, in my view,
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the greatest and prance and integrity in history. and i would like to throw it out and get people's reaction. yes, ma'am. >> i like to react to last speaker. my dad trained world war ii and korea. 94 missions over the first navigator and he told me he had great admiration for walter cronkite because of my dad was on the federal system, he was working with the guys in the no gravity things and everybody thought it was something to do. but i asked my dad, did you ever think about people on the ground when he was dropping bombs over korea and he said you don't think about that. you just think about missions. as soon as they bombed the bridges they would be rebuilt in a very fast turnaround time.
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but he also said the press is helpful in keeping their numbers straight because oftentimes the commanding officer, one would count for, one that counts six. it is the same piece of turf. the journalist is the arbiter of what the numbers might be. they kept their redundancies in the exaggerations to a minimum. i would also like to see them write more books about korea. for an undeclared war there was a of a fight. >> theater guys saw pointed out that although they wind up two or three nations, it shows whether to go up or not. your dad went up in 96 more times. ideal knock >> they often -- they kept secrets back then. >> a question about whether the
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poll whole heroic work, the second world war and the consequent, which was this equally heroic journalists and thereafter is the same question about whether the heroic total war with the revolutionary war and the heroic statesmanship in politics that came afterward is the sort of the same question that heroic times has this effect on us as individuals with a society in their something else like it and we haven't had sent him a compass and we don't have that sort of thing these days. >> that's a very perceptive point, john. anyone else care to comment? >> the odds are against you in the support. we had to have some friends and how we almost lost. >> not a court major journalism.
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>> i think it did and not generate some incredible combat journalism, which lasted through vietnam and then changed again because of the repression of the government. >> i wish we could've gotten censorship because it's so fascinating this year. >> george c. marshall course in the marshall and everything is a story about him. general general storytelling and listed reporters what to write for stars and stripes and he came down on them real hard. he said, let them write their destiny. he supported them 100%. >> you know, the last thing he wanted list cheerleading from stars & stripes early in the war. he told them to cut it out.
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he wanted richard morrison and andy rooney was part of that. >> the baby boomer generation grew up with many a missile correspondent was caricatures as to how they refute the g.i. and air men in the research and experience with your dad, what did you learn about how correspondents felt that the gis of the soldiers airman felt about them in their role? >> well, i think laker seatmates died, they appreciate it like marshall and mike, having a story told. they appreciated having their own stories told and appreciated the fact checking. i've heard from the nonsense that they appreciated the big questions.
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[inaudible] >> right, one of the things the gis that matter that they were with them in the trenches. they were taking the same risks. they were not every day and not to the extreme, that they were there. the reason ernie pyle became so popular at the beginning of the war is that prescott is so comfortable around them, opennet then he began writing wonderful profiles. we don't have time to get in. he was taught himself the poor man's ernie pyle used to say, i write for the people who read -- i write for the people who read ernie pyle over the shoulder of people reading ernie pyle. man, did i screw that. but just an amazing guy. ap insisted on calling him
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heralded the boil in the byline. his tattoo could be without one. ernie pyle sounds like a guy you want to have a couple beers. her boil sounds like you're accounting professor from freshman year. [inaudible] he didn't have the same kind of notoriety among them might think. what was the difference? david may comment on this may be between the experience in iraq and the experience of these correspondents in world war ii? >> well, i think what the difference is, aside from the technological differences, dairy sort of a cultural difference built up over those 50 years of the relationship between the press and the military.
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and so, i just don't think -- you know, as i said at the beginning the fact that most of the soldiers in world war ii were just thrown in enlistees and draftees and so where the writers. there's a much closer parallel between them. and the price in the military now unfortunately two separate cultures. i mean, people can overcome it. a journalist can do it and they can also write features. bush is a lot more obstacles to overcome. >> and they were embedded in just one -- >> yeah, they concealed from one era perspective. they knew how to see a larger perspective in some cottbus and became the cheerleaders that eisenhower did and why. >> in italy, things went sideways very quick lead and ended up just being a miserable buddy slide they really had the feel of world war i trench
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warfare. boyle and baker were both very bitterly every day and both, especially baker. poignant and reporting. he got crosswise with alexander and the british diet with mart clerk who just not fare very well in my book to put it charitably. the bigger it and the other guys carrying the miserable stalemate the tip place in both races. you know, they printed the truth venture they had to go through sensors and all the rest, but she's got to get them all the credit. >> was actually done over time. i'll take one more question. >> janet, nick this brief, will you? >> not the way of life to film a tweeds and things that i'm too old to do, but we don't have letters the way we used to. is that going make a big difference in the future?
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>> absolutely. [laughter] every historian is worried about that. >> if you could only read, to think if he was tweaking it be reduced to 140 kerry therese. you know, when he wrote a letter in the airplane as he was scheduled to fly to paris to parachute in paris for the first because he didn't think you'd again. i mean, just extraordinary staff. well, guys, thank you so much. [applause]
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>> what are you begin this summer? took tb wants to. >> there's more of a nonfiction focus, but i like to read thrillers and i think the one thriller that anyone will pick up and be blown away by its gone girl bike j-juliett flynn.
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it just came out from crown yesterday i believe. and we've used that authority command from npr, salon, "the new york times." i would have to agree, it is essentially a portrait of a marriage from how do we learn about because a woman named amy tan disappears and that first week at a good and we also get her event diary format and it becomes very clear that neither of them are telling the truth and its lie upon lie upon lie and it's incumbent upon the readers to figure out, how are they lying and are they lying to themselves? finished just as i described it to friends on twitter, and a burger performance. i want to stand up and cheer when i read to the end because the end is so audacious, but it's so right. >> f


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